by Ryan Guerra
When seeing the trailers for this film it seemed like so many other stories that have come before (Ice Age: Continental Drift for example). I figured that this was just the next shameless animated money grab by studios attempting to cash in on those parents who take their young children to each new animated film no matter what it is. That being said, the trailer for this film does not do it justice. Seriously, 20th Century Fox is doing Dreamworks Animation a disservice by not providing better trailers and promotion for The Croods. While the complete package of this film is not the best animated film, it is more than just a mere money grab.
The film opens with Eep, voiced by Emma Stone who introduces us to her cave family led by her overly protective father Grug (Nicolas Cage) and shares her rebellious desire to follow her curiosity and see more of the world. The scene quickly shifts to the family’s quest to find some food that plays like a fast paced prehistoric game of football that clues us in on each of the characters’ strengths and weaknesses. From this point forward the film does a fantastic job of keeping a steady pace that will keep both parents and young children’s interest. As I am sure most parents know, you can always tell how good a children’s movie is based on how fast the young ones lose interest and start to become fidgety. Right from the start, my girlfriend’s three year-old son was attentively glued to his seat. Also I did not notice any of the other children in the theater talking or making noise which is usually a sign of a good children’s film.
Keeping with the fast paced action we are introduced to Guy voiced by Ryan Reynolds. Guy is traveling to high ground in an effort to escape the end of the world caused by earthquakes and lava. Unlike The Croods who are simple minded cavemen, Guy has a brain and is constantly introducing the family to new ideas like fire, shoes and umbrellas. His adventurous spirit is a foil to Grug’s living in constant fear of the unknown in order to stay alive. And while the family starts to fall for Guy’s spirit, they go on an adventure not only to find safety but to finally live.
The voice acting is solid across the board. Emma Stone really shines as the rebellious teenager and Nicolas Cage gives one of his better performances in years. Ryan Reynolds is accompanied with his sloth sidekick “Belt” who provides some of the most memorable comedic moments in the film. Together, along with the other supporting actors in this film, you have several inspired performances. It is these performances that appeal to the adults in the audience and make the film memorable and fun for all ages.
3 ½ stars out of 5